Any place interesting in Greenbelt
Anyone know of an interesting special occasion type place for lunch not too far from the beltway. Some of us a coming from Annapolis and some from Rockville, so that seemed half way.
I've always liked Sir Walter Raleigh Inn on Greenbelt Rd. for lunch.They have a terrific salad bar.
With all due respect to the previous posters, Sir Walter Raleigh and Chef's Secret both suck. If you don't care at all about the food, then they would be good options.
I lived in Greenbelt for many years, up until a few months ago. Here I am in town again, and nothing has changed. There are several good hole-in-the-wall places -- and I'd be happy to put up some recs for those -- but there's frankly no such thing as "interesting special occasion type place" anywhere near Greenbelt. The closest is probably Gah-Rahm, a Korean BBQ place up route 1 in Beltsville. But for what you're asking, you would have better options if you went into the city.
Using a broad definition of your parameters, I would strongly recommend you consider the restaurants in Riverdale's "Little Mexico," south down Kenilworth Avenue from 193 (Greenbelt Road). They're not fine dining, but they're certainly interesting and fun for an adventuresome crowd. The Mexican (or Tex-Mex) food is about as "authentic" as it gets around here. The Alamo might fit the bill. Despite what others say, the Sir Walter Raleigh ain't that bad, particularly if you want to play it safe. Chef's Secret has gone downhill. Bowie is a decent half-way point, and you should also consider the venerable Grace's Fortune for Chinese on Rte 450. Dim Sum on weekends.
I agree with Steinre1 that Howard County is a better mid-point for lunch than Greenbelt. The Rockville people can avoid the Beltway and cut across the northern part of Montgomery on Rte 198 to Rte 29. Fulton and southern Columbia will be more convenient than northern Columbia and Ellicott City. I'm not sure whether you want weekday or weekend lunch.
Consider Ranazul (tapas), oz Chophouse (steakhouse), or Trapeze (fish/American) in Fulton at Rte 29 and Rte 216. They're all upscale places in the Maple Lawn development. Casual, but very "special occasion." They're the closest to Rte 29.
Consider Sushi King in Columbia for great sushi. Nice place. Unique sushi rolls. They even have little private rooms that would make a very special occasion.
Consider Mango Grove or Mirchi Wok in Columbia for a wide range of delicious Indian. They're simple, shopping center restaurants, but special food. Call be to be sure you can order off the menu at lunch.
I have a blog about Howard County food with items about most of these places: www.howchow.blogspot.com.
agreed with most chatters here. I went to UMD and Sir Walter Raleigh used to always be where people suggested you take your parents - its scary. The only halfway decent place around there (or at least when I lived nearby) is Franklin's in Hyattsville. Its not fancy but good wood fired pizzas and apps as well as their own micro brews.